On the 10th of April, a workshop was conducted at one of Rohsan’s plants regarding a social cause prevalent in our nation: domestic violence. The workshop was led by the young leaders at ‘Himmat’. ‘Himmat’ is a youth-led initiative aiming to empower and equip those affected by domestic violence with the tools and skills they need to fight back as well as create awareness about domestic violence in society. 

The United Nations defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior toward an intimate partner in a or family relationship, where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim.” Furthermore anyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or class can be a victim of domestic violence. Some studies estimate that up to 50% of men have also faced domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse are not just women and may also include children, relatives, or any other household members. Moreover, it is important to note that domestic abuse can be mental, physical, economic, or sexual in nature. Incidents are rarely isolated and usually escalate in frequency and severity. Domestic abuse may culminate in serious physical injury or death.

The workshop shed light upon several facts and statistics regarding domestic abuse, which many employees were unaware of. This information was shared with the employees with the help of a presentation and questionnaire. Firstly, the scale of domestic abuse in Pakistan was explained. The presentation then went on to explain the effects of abuse on women and children living in these households.

According to some estimates, 70-90% of women from ages 15 to 49 have experienced some kind of domestic violence. However, considering domestic violence is an issue shrouded by many, these figures are most likely a gross under-estimation. In reality over a million cases of domestic abuse go unreported each year.

Several factors play a pivotal role when it comes to the reasons for domestic abuse. These factors include the low-economic status of women, lack of awareness about women’s rights, lack of education, falsified beliefs, an imbalance of power between men and women, male-dominant social structures, and lack of support from the government. 5000 women in Pakistan are brutally murdered per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others left severely injured or disabled. Domestic violence has become an important public health concern.

After the enlightening presentation, a questionnaire was handed out, which aimed to peruse how the participants viewed the increased rate of domestic violence. The set of questions included in the questionnaire was in relation to the number of cases that have been reported in the last ten years and the percentage of women who have faced abuse at the hands of their husbands or in-laws.

Himmat aims to spread awareness in areas where people do not have access to education. It aims to reduce the rate of domestic violence by opposing the falsified beliefs which have been created by our society. Their visit to Roshan was effective as it assisted in making an impact on the mindset through which others viewed domestic violence. The questionnaire helped people realize the difference in the statistics they had envisioned compared to the prevalence of the problem. Spreading awareness can have a positive impact on the reduction of domestic abuse.

-Bahisht Nadeem, Intern, Roshan Packages Limited